A Layman’s Guide to Choosing Website Color Schemes
Colors play a crucial role when it comes to branding and web designing.
According to research, the majority of snap buying decisions are virtually powered by color perception.
As far as websites are concerned, the first impression matters a great deal. Therefore, picking the right color scheme for your site is crucial to make it catchy, appealing, reliable, and rewarding.
Be careful while choosing the colors to add to your website color scheme. Different colors will convey different messages to your site visitors, which will modify their perception of your website, whether it was intended or not.
Have no idea where you should start? This step-by-step guide will help you create a website color scheme and prevent you from making the biggest blunders in web design.
The attention span of an average internet user is approximately eight seconds today, and that’s the amount of time you have got to persuade them to stay on your website and accomplish whatever they came looking for.
Having the right website color scheme will help you keep the audience engaged with color accents, subtle navigational components, and catchy branding.
Let’s dive into the details.
7 STEPS TO BUILD YOUR WEBSITE COLOR SCHEME
- Identify Your Primary Color
If you are thinking about creating your own website color scheme, you have most probably chosen your primary color already. In case you have a logo or any other branding established, the chances are that there is one color dominating the designs. That is your primary color — the color your brand will be affiliated with.
If you still haven’t reached any final decision, you can conduct market research or browse a list of hex code palettes of some of the best renowned brands to get more ideas.
When you run into an aesthetically pleasing web design or picture, do not hold back from using a color picker to find out the hex code and include it in your list. There are plenty of popular tools available in the market to help you with the same.
- Choose the Number of Colors
Once you have finalized your primary color, next, you need to determine the number of colors you are going to add to the combination.
Typically, it is highly recommended to employ a mix of three colors. A triadic palette comprising three colors spaced out uniformly is an excellent point to start from. A triadic color scheme can be quite robust if it presents three primary dynamic colors, so web designers can often choose a mix of secondary shades.
You can also opt for the old web designer’s rule called the 60–30–10 rule when applying the color scheme to your web design.
This rule suggests that designers should not utilize the same amounts of all the selected colors and instead split them up into percentages and apply them to the web design appropriately.
- Utilize Secondary Colors When Required
Matching the secondary shades to your primary brand colors can be a long haul, but don’t lose hope just yet. You can find plenty of tools online that can help ease this task for you.
Wondering what the point of taking the trouble to get secondary colors anyway is?
Well, at times, a website will require much more than just a couple of primary colors. This particularly holds true for large sites that are loaded with landing pages and content.
Being able to visually separate titles, sidebars, buttons, captions, and other components enhance the overall user experience and boost the conversion rate.
Meanwhile, you might also want to consider various hues and tones of your primary colors rather than hunting for additional shades. Remember, at times, simplicity is the best strategy.
- Don’t Overlook the Neutral Colors (Black, White, and Grey)
While creating your website, you are going to need neutral shades as either background or for text or contrasting necessary components.
In the present-day web design, the role of neutral shades is pretty much the same as the role of white space — giving a break to the visitors and allowing them the time to consume and prioritize the information available on the given web page better.
As a thumb rule, you should have a dark and a light neutral shade for various use cases. Some most commonly used neutral colors are black, white, and grey. You can also use the hues of your primary colors as neutrals, although that is a lot more complex to match.
- Add Primary, Secondary and Neutral Colors in the Following Areas
Are you confused about how to apply the color scheme to your web design? Wondering which colors should be used where and why? Let’s give you some clarity on this.
- Primary Colors: These should be applied to the “hot spots” on your web page. You should use these eye-catching, dynamic colors to grab the attention of your visitors and convince them to take the desired action(s). You should use primary colors to highlight elements such as the call to action buttons, titles, download forms, and other crucial components.
- Secondary Colors: You can use secondary colors to highlight the relatively less critical information present on the web page, including subheadings, secondary buttons, active menu items, backgrounds, supporting content writing such as testimonials and frequently asked questions, and so on.
- Neutral Colors: While these colors will most probably be used for background and text, they can also prove useful in incredibly colorful sections of the website in order to help lighten it and refocus the eye.
- Go Through the Process Multiple Times
When you ultimately work out your website color scheme, try it out in different scenarios. Think about the various potential cases. Will the design work out in print? What if you choose to start a product line later? Does your web design have an impact on the site visitors you expect to receive?
The best thing to do here is to go through the entire process multiple times and also make a couple of different color schemes so that just in case one color palette fails to meet your requirements; you will already have a Plan B in place.
- Brainstorm Whenever Needed
When you know the right place where you should look, finding visually pleasing color palettes is not that big a struggle. Besides, there are plenty of online tools available today to help you create beautiful website color schemes effectively. All you need to do is a bit of brainstorming and market research when needed.
WEBSITE COLOR SCHEME: MOST COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Why Is Website Color Scheme Crucial?
The impact of colors on human brains is a real occurrence. Even though we may not consciously feel its effect all the time, colors significantly influence the way our mind processes information and the world around us.
For example, according to research, red color can boost circulation while blue color can develop a calming effect.
Perhaps that is one of the main reasons most of the medical and pharma companies pick the blue color as their primary shade.
Thus, in a nutshell, it is safe to say that when utilized appropriately, colors can have a significant influence on humans. That’s why selecting the right website color palette is so essential.
By mixing various colors and tints, we can build color schemes that harmonize the web design, induce the desired emotions, sway the users’ moods, and mold their understanding of our brand.
- What Emotions Are Associated With the Different Colors?
The impact of colors on human minds is so significant that there is actually a whole other science field, called color psychology, dedicated to studying how colors influence human behavior. With the help of numerous research and experiments, scientists have confirmed that colors undeniably induce emotions — while some colors tap into our lighter feelings and make us happy, calm, and relaxed, some make us alert, upset, and anxious.
Actually, a vast majority of customers have agreed shopping for products on the basis of their color alone, especially in the case of clothes.
Hence, by selecting the right website color scheme, you can alter how the audience perceives your brand and evoke long-lasting emotions that will prompt the prospects’ buying decisions.
Wondering where you should start?
Below we have presented six primary colors that successfully evoke a unique emotional response in people.
The color red signifies importance, aggression, and passion. For example, recall the red carpet, the stop signal, and the red heart shape as a symbol of love. Red color demands immediate attention. Therefore, you should use it sparsely to make sure you don’t bewilder or exhaust the user when it comes to website design.
The color orange symbolizes playfulness, energy, and low prices. Using this color in your web design can help emphasize your brand’s youthfulness and even catch the impulse buyers’ attention.
Being the sun’s color, yellow can bring up happiness and fun aspects. However, bear in mind that yellow also triggers the anxiety part of the brain. Therefore, you should use it carefully and in differing hues in your web design.
Green is the color of nature and is strongly associated with health, prosperity, and environmentally friendly initiatives. This color beautifully contributes to all types of natural or organic products and companies centered on nature and the outdoors.
Blue immediately triggers trust and induces an emotion of safety. Moreover, being the color of sky and water, blue has proven to have a calming impact on the human mind. Therefore, it comes across as friendly and welcoming. Given the blue color’s versatility and vibrancy, it is one of the most popularly used colors in web design.
The color purple symbolizes royalty. It is typically associated with creativity, elegance, and mystery, which is why it is a popular color choice among companies pursuing the high-end or luxury appeal or wish to develop a more sensual appeal with their web design.
Considering which colors you will be adding in your color palette for your website will enable you to shape the audience’s perception of your brand as well as the site.
- Are There Any Gender/Age Color Differences? If Yes, Then What?
There is one thing common in all of the top-performing sites — they are familiar with their target audience well. You must be able to ascertain what type of audience you want to appeal to as a brand, whether you do it through in-depth market research or your years of experience in the industry. The reason is that the colors, choices of designs, typography, and elements like voice tone impact various audience demographics in a different way.
And not only do various demographics look at the different colors differently, but men and women happen to prefer different colors.
As per a study conducted a couple of years ago, when asked which are their preferred colors among purple, blue, orange, pink, green, grey, yellow, and red, most of the men and women admitted that they like blue more. The other two preferred colors were green for men, followed by purple, and for women, purple, followed by green.
Even though the difference between the preferred colors of both the genders seems to be minute, it can still potentially influence your company’s success. However, there is a bit more to this. When making a color palette for your web design that appeals to both men and women, you must also take their least favorite colors into account.
So the real question arises — which colors are the most and least favorite of both genders?
According to research, it turns out that both genders dislike brown and orange colors. Meanwhile, some women also placed grey on their top three least favorite colors list. In addition to this, both men and women interestingly regard these same colors as cheap and emotionless or blank.
- Which Colors Capture the Most Attention?
The use of the right color mixes plays a vital role in web design as they allow the designers to create a visual hierarchy. Consequently, visual hierarchy enables the site visitors to distinguish the primary components almost immediately and catch sight of the essential information first.
However, it is not just the different color mixes that give structure to the web design. Typically, colors have their own hierarchy, which is best interpreted by the way each color influences our behavior, emotions, and senses.
Vibrant colors such as red, orange, and yellow demand our full attention and are pragmatically unmissable. On the other hand, there are some relatively weaker colors too, like white, grey, or light blue, that help make contrast and crucial components pop.
Web designers love using vibrant colors to hone navigation and build a more intuitive user experience. Apart from this, you can also use vibrant colors to establish consistency across various web pages and assist the visitors in finding what they want more easily and quickly. For example, using red for your CTA buttons can help boost your conversions and make your UI design more intuitive.
- Do Industries Favor Different Colors?
We have already talked about the importance of color psychology in branding, identity, and logo design and how every color psychologically influences the customers in a different way.
Hence it should not be that big a surprise that various industries prefer various colors since they are all striving to induce specific emotions and establish connections relevant to their respective industries.
For example, most top brands in the pharmaceuticals, banking, airlines, consumer finance, home improvement, courier, and publishing industries favor the color blue. Likewise, the top brands in industries such as restaurants, beverages, food processing, food retail, and oil & gas favor red color.
To find the dominant color in the particular industry you operate in, you can conduct market research.
- How to Enhance Brand Recognition?
Together with the brand name, typography, and graphics, color serves as one of the most crucial elements that help in making a brand memorable.
We are aware of the fact that human brains yearn for visual information. Creating intriguing visual content using the right color combinations and appealing designs whet the audience’s interest and captivate their attention way before the data is actually processed. While an average internet users’ attention span is merely 8-second long, it takes less than a fraction of a second for the human brain to process visual signals.
Let us take a quick test. Close your eyes and recall the brands — Cadbury, Coca Cola, and Dominos. Did their brand colors pop up in your mind? We bet most people’s mind was immediately showered with purple-with-white, red, and blue pictures.
Research has established that colors boost brand recognition vastly. When you create better brand recognition, it helps you build familiarity with your target audience. And naturally, the more people are familiar with something, the more they trust it.
Studying color psychology will help you make sure that your company is connected to the right emotions and develop a positive feeling in customers.
Although it might appear to be “too much of work” for something as simple as a color palette for a website, this is a necessary step in the entire web design process.
Simply put, in order to sway the way users perceive and feel about your company, it is necessary to have a better understanding of how colors and emotions are connected.
- What Are Neutral Colors?
What do you think — is it possible to build an eye-pleasing web design without using colors at all? — Yes, you can.
However, for that, you need to understand better the other design components, including layout, grid, and typography, to be able to grab the attention of site visitors.
Black and white web design is called a monochromatic color scheme. Moreover, the mix of black and white shades is a purely safe bet as these two colors won’t ever go out of style. Nevertheless, a monochromatic color palette can be easily made using any color given that it is extracted from one hue and expanded using its tints, tones, and shades.
A correctly implemented monochromatic web design makes sure that the website sticks out as classic, sophisticated, and chic.
However, the drawback of using this color scheme is that it may be challenging to receive an emotional response from the site visitors. In essence, monochromatic web designs not just lack color but also emotions and personality. Thus, when opting for a monochromatic color scheme for a website, designers need to get creative about building a persuasive web browsing experience for the users.
According to research on minimalism in website design, it has been established that the use of an accent color across the web design consciously and continually helps in accentuating the most crucial elements/information on the web page and encourages the site visitors to take the desired action. However, as mentioned earlier, these colors should be used sparsely, so as to avoid overwhelming the user.
Green, blue and red colors are the three most favored colors that pop up in almost all industries.
But there is an exception applicable to the blue color. As per the food scientists, when human beings started searching for food, they gradually learned to keep away from toxic or spoiled items, which were typically black, purple, or blue. According to the study, when the test subjects were served blue-dyed food, they lost their appetite.
Meanwhile, if all the other brands in your industry are using the same color combinations, it might appear impossible to distinguish yourself from the crowd and establish substantial brand recognition. This makes it essential to put together a wider color palette that will be applicable to all your branding and marketing items rather than opting for just a basic mix of primary and secondary shades.
- Are There Any Examples of a Good Website Color Scheme?
Yes, of course! In fact, there are plenty of them.
Check out these 20 best examples to take inspiration from for your own website color scheme.
- Bright Accent Color
One of the best and most effective ways to direct the attention of your site visitors towards the crucial pieces of information presented on the web page is by using an accent color in your color scheme.
- A Bright but Balanced Color Scheme
Another example of a good website color scheme is to balance two bold colors while using an accent color.
- Fresh and Organic-Looking Color Scheme
Have you ever heard the saying that people eat with their eyes first? Well, it is 100% true. Our minds get a cue from the eyes long before our taste buds start working. Oftentimes, the color of a food item is the first thing that our eyes observe, and interestingly it predetermines the way we judge the taste and flavor of the product we are about to consume. So, focus on using a natural website color scheme to build a fresh and organic look.
- Earthy Shades
Using a neutral color or shades from the earthy palette as a background color will help bring out the vibrant color of the product displayed on the web page.
- Calm and Minimalistic Color Scheme
A simple mix of earthy, serene tones builds a calming environment and sets a suitable tone for the website message. This is also a great example of the way a limited color palette can still significantly influence the mood and behavior of the site visitors.
- Sleek and Relaxed Color Scheme
You can also build a sleek website color scheme with a relaxing and dreamy atmosphere by pairing different tints of the same shade with matching pastels.
- Pastel and Muted Color Scheme
You can use a soft, pastel color palette for your web design to build an impression of natural flow and visual structure. It will make an aesthetically pleasing and perfectly balanced design, which will compel the visitors to stay on your website and continue browsing it.
- Soft and Welcoming Color Scheme
Give a soft and welcoming look to your website by using a website color scheme that comprises many pastel shades.
- Vibrant and Bold Color Scheme
Fill your website with vibrant colors and bountiful energy by creating a vivid color palette that combines several bold and bright hues. A powerful combination of bold colors and interesting design components will ensure that your site leaves a lasting impression on the minds of the visitors.
- Vibrant Contrast
You can also create an eye-catching contrast by combining two vibrant shades for your website color scheme.
- Colorful and Modern Color Scheme
Combine your brightly colored products with a neutral-colored background to highlight the product and give your website a modern and sophisticated color scheme. Here, you can use an accent color for your call-to-action buttons to smartly guide the users towards taking the desired action.
- Fun and Playful
You can also pull off a fun and playful website color scheme by mixing multiple different hues and tones and using different colors to make informational categories.
- Monochromatic Color Scheme
Another great example would be to play with texture and different shades of black and grey colors to build a color palette for your website, giving it a mysterious yet approachable look. Moreover, such color schemes are devoid of bright colors, which compels the users to concentrate on other design components such as visuals, text, and shapes.
- Elegant and Peaceful
Try playing with a couple of shades of the same hue to create depth with your web design and engage the visitors using a soothing, clean color palette.
- Bold and Sharp Color Scheme
Siphon a sharp website color scheme to make a good first impression. Lead with the bold shades fearlessly, mixing various colors to build a sharp contrast and grab the users’ focus.
- Unafraid of Vivid Colors
Make a bold impression with your web design using a high contrast and three vivid colors palette.
- Luxurious and Elegant Color Scheme
Put a classic combination of elegant colors at play to compile a color scheme that beautifully pulls off a royal look with a modern twist delivering a solid visual experience to the users and instantly positioning your company as a sophisticated player.
- With a Touch of Tradition
Throwing in a shade that has powerful cultural associations can entirely shift the web design’s dynamics and give it a more magnificent look.
- Corporate Yet Energetic Color Scheme
Turning to a vibrant yet somewhat traditional color palette will help your brand induce trust while making a modern, forward-thinking brand impression. Play a little with the color contrast and clarity to create a dynamic and powerful web design.
- Traditional but Interesting
Get a little creative and spice up the classic color combinations to achieve a cool web design.
Honestly speaking, you don’t have to be a professional web designer with years of experience to be able to put together a good website color scheme. Having a great understanding of color psychology, the basics of color hypothesis, and an assortment of helpful tools, are enough for you to create a color palette that will give a solid visual identity to your brand.
With this, you must have got a pretty good idea of how to create your own website color scheme. All you need to do now is take out some time to explore different creative examples, test multiple color combinations, and discover matching shades that go well together.
A great web design is corresponding — if it works well for your company, pushes user engagement, and increases brand recognition, then that’s what really matters. Go ahead, wear your web designer’s cap, and start experimenting with your color schemes!
Hariom Balhara is an inventive person who has been doing intensive research in particular topics and writing blogs and articles for E Global Soft Solutions. E Global Soft Solutions is a Digital Marketing, SEO, SMO, PPC and Web Development company that comes with massive experiences. We specialize in digital marketing, Web Designing and development, graphic design, and a lot more.